Jul 13, 2020

Axios Sports

By Kendall Baker
Kendall Baker

👋 Happy Monday! Let's sports.

Today's word count: 1,874 words (7 minutes).

1 big thing: 🏈 Redskins to retire name today

Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins plan to announce today that they will retire their team name, per multiple reports. The team is not expected to reveal a new name until a later date.

Why it matters: "The timing offers some revealing truths about how social change occurs in America," writes WashPost's Robert McCartney.

  • While decades of protests by Native Americans and others laid the groundwork, team owner Dan Snyder — who seven years ago said he would "NEVER" change the name — ultimately reversed course because of pressure from corporate money.
  • And the companies that pressured him did turnarounds of their own in recent months, speaking out as part of the national reckoning with systemic racism sparked by George Floyd's murder and the ensuing protests.

The backdrop: The Redskins began a formal review of the team's name on July 3, a day after three major sponsors — PepsiCo, Bank of America and FedEx (which has its name on the team's stadium) — publicly requested a name change.

  • On the same day that FedEx and others took action, Nike pulled Redskins merchandise from its website. Five days later, Amazon did the same.
  • "The biggest lesson is the power of money," writes McCartney.

What they're saying: "It's never too late to do the right thing, and if you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, it doesn't really matter," Carla Fredericks, member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation told WashPost.

  • "We need to be seen in all of our humanity, and not as a caricature, because that impacts policy and how people interact with Native Americans every day. We are not your mascot," Crystal Echo Hawk, founder of IllumiNative told Axios.

Elsewhere:

  • The Atlanta Braves said in an email to season-ticket holders that they will not change their name but will take a further look at the future of the "Tomahawk Chop."
  • The Chicago Blackhawks said they will continue to use their name because it honors a Native American leader who has been an inspiration to generations.
2. 🏒 The NHL heads to hockey's homeland

The NHL and NHLPA have approved a new labor agreement that not only allows the league to restart next month but also includes a four-year CBA extension.

  • The state of play: Training camp begins today, and the season will resume on Aug. 1 with a 24-team playoff in two hub cities, Toronto and Edmonton.
  • Fun fact: The all-Canada postseason guarantees that the Stanley Cup will be won on Canadian soil for the first time since 2011, when the Bruins beat the Canucks in Vancouver.
Toronto skyline. Photo: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • City: Toronto, Ontario
  • COVID-19 tracker: Ontario has reported 36,723 cases (273 per 100k people) and 2,719 deaths (20 per 100k people), per NYT.
  • Teams: Bruins, Lightning, Capitals, Flyers, Penguins, Hurricanes, Islanders, Maple Leafs, Blue Jackets, Panthers, Rangers, Canadiens.
Edmonton skyline. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • City: Edmonton, Alberta
  • COVID-19 tracker: Alberta has reported 8,596 cases (211 per 100k people) and 160 deaths (four per 100k people), per NYT.
  • Teams: Blues, Avalanche, Golden Knights, Stars, Oilers, Predators, Canucks, Flames, Jets, Wild, Coyotes, Blackhawks.

Go deeper: What life in NHL's "secure zone" could look like (Sportsnet)

Bonus: 😷 Meanwhile, in Florida
Data: Covid Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

The NBA and MLS are currently inside their respective "bubbles" at Walt Disney World near Orlando, while the WNBA is hunkered down at IMG Academy near Tampa Bay.

Meanwhile, outside the bubbles:

  • Florida reported 15,299 confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday — a new single-day record for any state, according to its health department.
  • Disney World reopened two of its four major theme parks on Saturday, welcoming a limited number of guests to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.
3. 🏈 DeSean Jackson's regrettable week

DeSean Jackson. Photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

When DeSean Jackson posted a quote on Instagram last week, falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler, I don't think he had the slightest idea of the storm it would set off. Therein lies the problem, Axios' Jeff Tracy writes.

Why it matters: The quote's genesis is still a bit of a mystery, but the beliefs espoused are undeniably anti-Semitic in saying that white Jews "will blackmail America. [They] will extort America, their plan for world domination won't work if the Negroes know who they were."

What they're saying: Since Jackson's initial post last Monday, plenty of people have had plenty to say.

  • Monday: After posting videos of noted anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, Jackson posts a passage falsely attributed to Hitler.
  • Tuesday: The Eagles publicly condemn Jackson's post, and he apologizes. Meanwhile, former NBA player Stephen Jackson, a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter movement, defends DeSean, saying he was "speaking the truth."
  • Wednesday: Various NFL players, including Zach Banner and Mitchell Schwartz, post messages condemning anti-Semitism. Stephen Jackson doubles down on his defense of DeSean with anti-Semitic comments of his own, before later apologizing on CNN.
  • Thursday: Patriots WR Julian Edelman, who is Jewish, responds to Jackson's post and invites him to jointly tour the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
  • Friday: The Eagles fine Jackson an undisclosed amount. Meanwhile, Jackson speaks with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Edward Mosberg.

The bottom line: In Jackson's first apology, he said, "I post a lot of things that are sent to me ... I really didn't realize what this passage was saying."

  • So it seems his misstep (to put it lightly) was one of ignorance, not malice. But if the last few months have taught us anything, it's that systemic issues are as much a product of ignorance as outright evil or anything else.

Go deeper:

4. ⚡️ Catch up quick
Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
  • 🥊 UFC: Kamaru Usman defeated Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 251 Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E, retaining his welterweight title.
  • 🏈 CFB: Concern continues to grow about the viability of fall football. The Pac-12 followed the Big Ten in going conference-only, and the National Junior College Athletic Association is expected to move football to the spring.
Sergio Agüero after scoring a goal. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
  • ⚽️ Soccer: In a stunning reversal, Manchester City's two-year suspension from the Champions League was overturned. They're currently in second-place in the Premier League and the top four teams get into next year's tournament (fifth-place Manchester United is now on the outside looking in).
  • 📺 Media: ESPN suspended star NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski without pay after he sent a profane email to Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). LeBron James and others have since responded by tweeting the hashtag #FreeWOJ.
Colin Murikawa celebrates with the winner's trophy and a milkshake. Photo: Stan Badz/PGA TOUR via Getty Images
  • ⛳️ Golf: 23-year-old Collin Morikawa outlasted Justin Thomas at the Workday Charity Open to secure his second PGA Tour title. Fun fact: Morikawa is the first player since Tiger Woods to win twice on Tour before missing two cuts as a pro (he's only missed one).
  • 🏟 NBA: The Palace of Auburn Hills, which opened in 1988 and was home to three NBA title runs by the Pistons (1989, 1990, 2004) was demolished early Saturday morning.
5. 🏀 Ranking the NBA's all-time rosters (No. 16)
Expand chart
Player data: Basketball Reference; Graphic: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

We're ranking the all-time rosters for all 30 NBA teams. Note: Rosters and stats based only on time spent with this specific team. Thoughts? Email me at jeff@axios.com.

16. Sacramento Kings

The Kings enjoyed a run of success in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but could never get past the Lakers. Before that was a 12-year span with just one postseason appearance, and unless they earn the eighth seed at Disney World, they'll extend their current streak to 14 — longest in the league.

  • Year established: 1948 (as the Rochester Royals)
  • All-time record: 2,590-3,089 (.456)
  • NBA Championships: 1
  • Hall of Famers (indicated by *): 7

Starters:

  • Oscar Robertson*, G (29.3 pts, 8.5 reb, 10.3 ast, 25.0 PER/154.2 WS)
  • Tiny Archibald*, G (25.2 pts, 2.8 reb, 8.1 ast, 20.9 PER/53.7 WS)
  • Mitch Richmond*, G (23.3 pts, 3.7 reb, 4.1 ast, 18.4 PER/50.4 WS)
  • Chris Webber, F (23.5 pts, 10.6 reb, 4.8 ast, 22.3 PER/45.5 WS)
  • DeMarcus Cousins, C (21.1 pts, 10.8 reb, 3.0 ast, 22.4 PER/35.3 WS)

Sixth man: Jerry Lucas*, F (19.6 pts, 19.1 reb, 3.0 ast, 19.2 PER/57.8 WS)

Bench:

  • Mike Bibby, G (17.6 pts, 3.2 reb, 5.4 ast, 17.4 PER/42.9 WS)
  • Peja Stojaković, F (18.3 pts, 5.0 reb, 2.0 ast, 18.3 PER/59.8 WS)
  • Vlade Divac*, C (11.4 pts, 7.8 reb, 3.7 ast, 17.1 PER/39.4 WS)
  • Jack Twyman*, F (19.2 pts, 6.6 reb, 2.3 ast, 17.8 PER/75.0 WS)
  • Sam Lacey, C (11.1 pts, 10.5 reb, 4.0 ast, 14.7 PER/50.4 WS)
  • Bob Davies*, G (14.3 pts, 2.9 reb, 4.9 ast, 18.0 PER/49.7 WS)

Notes:

  • Robertson was famously the only player to average a triple-double for a full season (1961-62) before Russell Westbrook matched him a few years ago.
  • Lucas holds two of the top 24 rebounding seasons ever, which is extra impressive when you realize Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain combine to hold 20 of them.

ICYMI ... 30. Grizzlies, 29. Timberwolves, 28. Hornets, 27. Raptors, 26. Pelicans, 25. Pacers, 24. Clippers, 23. Mavericks, 22. Nets, 21. Cavaliers, 20. Bucks, 19. Hawks, 18. Wizards, 17. Suns

Stats, explained: Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is a measure of a player's per-minute productivity (20+ is elite); Win Shares (WS) attempts to divvy up individual credit for team success (6 per season is elite).

6. July 13, 1930: ⚽️ The first World Cup

1930 Uruguay national soccer team. Photo: Keystone/Getty Images

90 years ago today, the inaugural World Cup kicked off in Uruguay, and culminated with the hosts winning the first-ever championship.

The field: Uruguay was selected as host to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its constitution, and because it had won gold at the 1928 Summer Olympics.

  • Every affiliate nation was invited to participate, but only 13 accepted, largely due to the challenges of traveling all the way to South America.
  • The 13 participants: Argentina, Chile, France, Mexico, Yugoslavia, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Romania, Peru, U.S., Paraguay and Belgium.

The format: Four groups played round-robins, with each group's winner advancing to the semifinals.

  • Semis: Uruguay def. Yugoslavia, 6-1; Argentina def. U.S., 6-1
  • Finals: Uruguay def. Argentina, 4-2

Wild stat: The U.S. won the first World Cup match ever played, and went 2-0 in group play in 1930. In the ensuing 90 years, the U.S. has won just six more World Cup matches (overall record: eight wins, six ties, 19 losses).

🎥 Watch: Highlights from the Final (YouTube)

7. 🎧 New podcast: "The Cam Chronicles"
Courtesy: The Ringer

"The Cam Chronicles," The Ringer's six-episode podcast series about Cam Newton, premieres today.

  • 🎙 Interview: I spoke with The Ringer's Tyler R. Tynes, who spent the last year interviewing coaches, teammates, family members and Newton himself about the QB's life and career.

What do people misunderstand the most about Cam?

"That he is both his unique, fun authentic self — a boundless sun and ray of energy that can't be confined when it's at its brightest — and a mysterious recluse hellbent on having his way, his vision, his picture perfect script on how he sees his life."

What made you want to do this podcast?

"I'm someone who believes Cam Newton is one of the greatest characters to ever grace sports. He's both someone who's willing to give away all his time for a humanitarian cause if he deems it valid, and equally someone who hasn't done a sit-down interview in almost half a decade.
"How do you tell a full story about an athlete who doesn't want his story to be told? How do you convey something about someone's life when they've closed their life off to the press? It ain't easy. But that's the fun of Cam."

🎧 Listen to the podcast.

8. The Ocho: 🏡 Quarantine sports

Photo: Michelle R.

Michelle R. (Denver) writes:

"My boyfriend and I have been playing 'soccer golf' in the backyard during quarantine (photo above from March, hence the snow).
"Rules: start from X, the ball has to bounce off the fence, and then go under the wooden table from the left side. Worst score makes up the next hole. No interference called if the dog chases the ball — that's on you!"

✍️ Submit your sport: Have you invented a sport during quarantine? Or been frequently playing an alternative sport? Reply to this email with your submission (please include a photo). We'll share our favorites.

9. ⚾️ MLB trivia
Giphy
  • Question: Who is the only MLB manager atop the all-time wins list for two franchises?
  • Hint: AL Central, NL Central.

Answer at the bottom.

10. ❤️ Why we love sports

Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Rigdon C. (Carlsbad, Calif.) writes:

"I was the senior basketball manager at Georgia Tech during the 1949-50 season. After losing to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament, several of us team members went out and had a beer to celebrate the season.
"Coach Roy MacArthur caught me coming in after curfew that night and made the decision not to give me a varsity letter.
"Fast-forward to 1986. I was back on campus for my 35th year reunion and ran into Mickey Sermersheim, captain of our 1949-50 team, and several other teammates.
"It was the first time I'd seen them since graduation. When Mickey asked me why I hadn't attended any of the annual Lettermen's Game, I reminded him that I had not been given a letter and he recalled why.
"The next winter, Mickey invited me to the Lettermen's Game. I went even though I felt somewhat out of place. At the banquet following the game, coach Bobby Cremins asked me to join him at the microphone.
"He and former coach John 'Whack' Hyder, who succeeded MacArthur and under whom I had served as freshman basketball manager, then gave me a letter — 37 years after I and my teammates felt that I'd earned it.
"It's difficult to put into words what that moment meant to me at the time, and it's a memory I will always cherish."

✍️ Submit your story: Do you have a fondest sports memory? Or an example of sports having a positive impact on your life? If you'd like to share, simply reply to this email. We'll be telling your stories until they run out.

Kendall Baker

Talk tomorrow,

Kendall "Could watch Oscar highlights all day" Baker

Trivia answer: Sparky Anderson (1,331 wins with Tigers, 863 with Reds)